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Early voting down in Hawkins as voters prepare to elect new mayor, all 21 commissioners

Jeff Bobo • May 1, 2018 at 8:47 AM

ROGERSVILLE — Hawkins County's early voting figures for Tuesday’s county primary are way down this year, 980 fewer than voted early in the 2014 county primary and 1,785 fewer than voted early for the 2010 county primary.

Hawkins County early voting for Tuesday's primary election ended Thursday with a total of 2,569 votes cast.

Of those, exactly 1,400 voted in Rogersville at the courthouse, and 1,050 voted at the Church Hill Rescue Squad satellite office.

The remaining votes were cast by mail, military or from a nursing home.

With no contested Democratic races in Tuesday's primary, the number of people voting in the Democratic primary was unusually low, even for the Republican dominated county.

A total of 2,398 people voted in the Republican primary, compared to only 171 in the Democratic primary.

The number of early voters in Hawkins County’s primaries has been on the decline throughout this decade. In 2014, there were a total of 3,549 votes, and in the 2010 county primary there were 4,354 early votes.

All 21 Hawkins County Commission seats are contested in Tuesday's primary, as are the offices of county mayor and highway superintendent.

Among the Hawkins County office holders who will be re-elected uncontested are Sheriff Ronnie Lawson, Clerk of Courts Randy Collier, County Clerk Nancy Davis, Register of Deeds Judy Kirkpatrick and Trustee Jim Shanks.

With County Mayor Melville Bailey opting not to seek a third term, there are five Republicans seeking to claim the seat, including Charlie Freeman, former county commissioner and current county solid waste director; current District 5 Commissioner Mark Linkous; retired TWR departmental manager Kelly Markham; retired Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Jim Lee; and retired military veteran Dennis Chamberlain.

The winner will face challenges from a Democrat and four Independents in the Aug. 2 general election.

Incumbent Republican Highway Superintendent Lowell Bean is being challenged in his bid for a fourth term by Kingsport engineer Joe Parrott.

Three Republicans from each of the seven districts will move on to the August general election. The following is the list of Republican County Commission candidates on Tuesday's ballot:

District 1: George Bridwell, Eugene Christian, Raymond Jessee and Syble Vaughan Trent.

District 2: Jeff Barrett, Keith Bruner, B. D. Cradic, Mike Dixon, Keith Gibson and Tom Kern.

District 3: Danny C. Alvis, Josh Bellamy, Greg S. Fletcher, Cathy Carter Lawson, Charles K. Thacker and Stacy D. Vaughan.

District 4: Woody Boyd, Andrew Dockery, Dawson Fields, Valerie Mallett-Goins, Patrick Johnson, Reene Rush and Hannah Greer-Speaks.

District 5: Glenda Petty Davis, Mark DeWitte, Christopher James Funk Sr. and John C. Metz.

District 6: Nancy T. Barker, Rick Brewer, Jim Chandler, Larry Clonce, Darrell W. Gilliam, Al Lamb and Tonya A. Strunk.

District 7: Michael J. Herrell, Clarence Otis Lipe, Charlie Newton, Robert A. "Bob" Palmer, Donnie "Spanky" Talley and Hal Trent.

Hawkins County constable candidates:

District 1 Republicans Bill Creasy, Ryan Christian and Kevin Engwiller; District 2 Republican Freddie Castle; District 3 Republican Frank Vaughn; District 4 Republican James Hammonds; District 5 Republicans Michael Thacker and Charlie Gibson; District 6 Republicans Wayne Cunningham and Johnny Lee Drinnon; and District 7 Republican Tony Robinson.

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